The Maple Leafs say they never think about that Game 7 meltdown against the Bruins in the playoffs last year. But they keep getting reminded of it. Sometimes, it’s in the line of questioning from the media when the two teams get together. But on Tuesday, it was as if the game was being played again. This time, the Leafs prevailed 4-3 for a rare regular-season win in Boston and a rare regulation win — their first regulation win on the road since Oct. 30. “It almost felt like it was the playoffs again,” said defenceman Jake Gardiner, who scored a goal and made a giveaway that led to Boston’s third goal. “This time we came out on top. Too bad it wasn’t last year. “We did a better job, if we’re comparing it. Guys stepped up and we managed to get it done.” It was almost the same scenario. Last year, it was a three-goal lead that vanished. On Tuesday, the Leafs had a two-goal lead thanks to two goals from Tyler Bozak in the first, Gardiner’s power-play goal in the second and an early third-period marker from James van Riemsdyk. Gregory Campbell scored halfway through the third and the Bruins tried desperately for the equalizer the rest of the way while Leaf fans spent a white-knuckle half-a-period glued to the game telling themselves “not again”. “Hopefully it bleeds some of the demons out of us,” said Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. “That we can come in to this building, and have success in any building. To be a playoff team, to be a team that is going to challenge, you have to win on the road.” The heroes on Tuesday were, incidentally, three guys who weren’t on the ice that fateful game last spring: Bozak, who stopped a Bruins shot into an empty Leaf net (he missed Game 7 with an injury), newly acquired Tim Gleason, who blocked two shots in the final minute, and goalie Jonathan Bernier, acquired over the summer, who stopped 38 of 41 shots.
Maple Leafs hold off late Bruins surge for rare regulation win
Toronto Star | Jan 15